Five hundred jobs will be created in the Black Country by 2 Sisters Food group, bosses announced today.
The firm, which has plants in West Bromwich, Smethwick and Wolverhampton, has been boosted by a surge in orders.
They include securing an improved multi-million pound contract last year to supply poultry to Sainsbury’s.
The group is moving from a five to seven day working week as part of its plans to increase output.
The poultry division plants in Bevan Way, Smethwick; Dial Lane, West Bromwich and Lincoln Street, Wolverhampton, currently employ 1,200.
Last December around 800 of them took part in a one-day strike called by union Unite over a new pay deal as part of the move to seven days working.
Group spokesman Andrew Hanson said that after a deal was reached the changes were in the process of being implemented.
He said there was no exact time scale yet for when the group would begin recruiting but added: “We expect to start during 2013.” Mr Hanson said the move to the five in seven day working system would create 500 jobs, mainly in the West Midlands.
The group is ramping up poultry meat production capacity and is to extend an existing factory in Newport, South Wales, and alter the layout of two chicken processing plants in Norfolk and Devon.
It has appointed Clegg Food Projects to work on the schemes, which are to be completed in the summer.
Sainsbury’s is sourcing all its chicken from 2 Sisters and Moy Park as part of its “2020 Strategy” – a move to sell more British food by 2020.
It previously had three suppliers, which included 2 Sisters.
The increased supply to Sainsbury’s begins in the second quarter of this year.
The group was started in West Bromwich in 1993 by chief executive Ranjit Singh Boparan. It started out specialising in supplying poultry, but now also offers fish, chilled foods, bakery and frozen products to the retail, food service and food manufacturing sectors. It is split into six divisions and has 35 manufacturing sites in the UK and Ireland, six in Holland and one in Poland and employs more than 18,000 people in total.
The UK poultry division supplies to a range of retailers and food service businesses and food manufacturers. It predominantly produces private label products however there are some brands including Buxted and Devonshire Red.